Page 1 of 1 1
Topic Options
#14159 - 11/10/08 07:15 PM Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love
Meq Offline
Banned
active member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
The Metaphysics of Love:
http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/essays/chapter12.html

 Originally Posted By: Arthur Schopenhauer
"Nature attains her ends by implanting in the individual a certain illusion by which something which is in reality advantageous to the species alone seems to be advantageous to himself; consequently he serves the latter while he imagines he is serving himself. In this process he is carried away by a mere chimera, which floats before him and vanishes again immediately, and as a motive takes the place of reality. This illusion is instinct."


Schopenhauer was, of course, referring to the person who falls madly in love.
He noted how humans are largely selfish creatures, seeking their own happiness in life (particularly in love relationships).
He also noted how many people make blinkered choices in these areas which are really detrimental to their own happiness.

Schopenhauer comes to the startling conclusion that humans have an instinct designed for the very purpose of undermining reason and rationality, which would interfere with the process of reproduction.

We have the instinctual illusion of 'falling for' a person with whom (unconsciously) we could produce the healthiest offspring. The instinct overrides our egoism by deluding us into thinking that subjective feelings of love for another person are an accurate barometer to how much happiness that person will give us. Thus we mistakenly look for happiness in the object of our intense passions, while we may well actually be sacrificing our real happiness!
"The individual is the dupe of the will of the species."

This is not to deny that a person can be happy in love. Schopenhauer's point is that the choices made by our heart are NOT a reliable guide to personal happiness, and that we had better bring in reason too if we seek to be selfishly happy - because our instincts are designed specifically to overpower reason and make us choose a good candidate for breeding, not a good candidate for our personal happiness - although they also blinker us into thinking that 'following our heart' is the only way to happiness.


Yes, Schopenhauer might have been a miserable, misogynistic, cynical old bastard who hated existence... but he was a genius all the same.

This essay (written in 1844, and drawing heavily on Stoic and Buddhist thought) anticipated aspects of Darwinian natural selection, the Freudian theory of the unconscious, the 'Selfish Gene' theory of human motivation (individuals sacrificing themselves to the continuation of their selfish genes), as well as modern psychological and sociological research on sexual attraction and relationships.

I personally think Schopenhauer's view of romantic love deserves serious consideration.
At least a little more thought than the usual circumstantial argumentum ad hominem fallacy:
"He only said that because he was hurt!"


These ideas, particularly in the quote above, go much deeper than sexual love. Schopenhauer seems to me to have been strongly biased towards Buddhism (much as Kant was towards Christianity), so he may have resisted following the kind of 'Satanic' reasoning below:

What about the Christian who passionately tries to follow the way of self-sacrificial love - or for that matter the Mahayana Buddhist - as the most happy and satisfying life a human being can live, yet finds that it isn't necessarily that way?
What if they instead end up suffering and even dying for their ideal of love, with the promise of personal happiness following being a mirage?
Were they being duped by the "will of the species" in a similar way?

Thoughtful comments please...



Edit: For Alain de Botton's discussion of this very topic, see http://www.the600club.com/dir/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=14161#Post14161


Edited by Mequa (11/11/08 08:04 PM)
Edit Reason: Added link to video

Top
#14214 - 11/11/08 03:25 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Meq]
Dan_Dread Offline
stalker


Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3935
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I really like what Schopenhauer had to say on this subject. As a Satanist, I view happiness as the ultimate state of existence. I live my life in such a way that maximizing my happiness is goal number one, consciously.
The subconscious mind probably has other ideas. Schopenhauer was well ahead of his time with his 'will to life' theory, and it has always rung true to me. My biology has a mind of it's own!
Many people find ideas like this unconscionable and repugnant. So many today believe in total freedom of the will, as if we have absolutely no constraints on what we can be and do, that imagination is the only limitation. The facts tell a different story. We are biological machines, and we operate within certain parameters. Very few of these parameters ever touch the conscious mind.

This is one of the reasons I have made a conscious decision to not breed.
_________________________
ADM
ideological vandal

Top
#14218 - 11/11/08 04:00 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Meq]
Diavolo Offline
RIP
stalker


Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
I agree with Schopenhauer on love. Basically it all boils down to sex, or at least the result of sex. The only purpose we have is reproduction. There is a lot written upon it nowadays, Miller wrote in evolutionary psychology about the brain as a courting device and I can't remember whom but there is also someone that wrote about all our efforts to excel in something, not being for the reason of liking it or advancement, but because it gives us an edge at the level of reproduction. Maybe it was Miller too, I can't remember. I think reproduction is the most powerful instinctive aspect we have and many even neglect survival in favour of it. Maybe the idea of love, the abstract idea or meme if you like, is of a symbiotic nature and developed to give even more power to the drive itself.

Humans are selfish creatures and we indeed seek happiness but happiness is merely what our brain tells us it is. In this we are subject to chemical changes and can't but submit to instinctive routines. Those routines are not always at our advantage and in many cases come at the expense of the self. I can not but agree it is not reliable at all.
Personally I always disliked the idea of having kids because the reward is not worth the sacrifice at a personal level. And since I'm not the only one being abnormal at this level, it makes me wonder why. If instinct is designed to override ratio, why does it not always do that? And is it my impression only or is it dependant on a certain degree of human evolution, or rather evolution of the brain itself. Not saying I have such an evolved brain but I doubt that hundreds of years ago many people even pondered about the problem or had a conscious choice in it. And when going further back, I think there was no choice at all. Does information and a societal tendency upon it affect instinct? Do certain ideas trigger such a chemical imbalance in the brain that reproduction becomes dormant. I agree with Dennett that our personality or identity is just a matter of certain coalitions in our brain and maybe that explains why a Buddhist monk decides to live the life he wants or a nun becomes the bride of Christ. Maybe it explains why I never wanted children.

I don’t know but even when reproduction is dormant, the act of reproducing can be found everywhere. No matter where and no matter what choices people made, sex seems to be hard to resist. If you’re a Buddhist monk, a Catholic priest or nun, or a no-child-left-behind person like me, we all have a hard time passing on sex. I wonder if it is only for the pleasure factor or if our instinct is doing another wild bet at offspring. I personally prefer the pleasure factor, others might prefer love as an excuse but I can’t seriously state it is certainly not my instinct trying to beat me.

D.

Top
#14226 - 11/11/08 05:49 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Diavolo]
Nemesis Offline
senior member


Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2175
Loc: US
 Quote:
Personally I always disliked the idea of having kids because the reward is not worth the sacrifice at a personal level.

I can honestly say that, even as a child, I never wanted children. The naysayers and disbelievers have told me (and persist in telling me) that I'll outgrow it. My magical hormones will kick in, children are so rewarding, blah blah blah. I know why I don't want children. It's not just that I'm content with my furry and feathered exobabies, but that I'm just too fucking selfish to devote my precious time to changing diapers, tossing a football, going to soccer games, and all that shit that you're supposed to do with children. I have a very comfortable life right now. All that would go out the window if I had a child. So, my instincts are telling me, "Don't fuck this up, you've got it made!" It could also be that I have more male tendencies than most women (mainly aggressiveness) and my pets give me an outlet for any motherly tendencies that might arrive. And yet, with my cats and dogs, I can let them run around in the backyard all day and no one can call Social Services on me.

The people on the opposite end of our spectrum are the ones who are so selfish, they feel that reproducing is either, A) Fulfilling an emotional need (someone who will love them forever), or B) Because it will grant them social status or they've been pressured into it all of their lives. It's what a woman is SUPPOSED to do, right?
_________________________
Nothing is sacred.

Top
#14227 - 11/11/08 05:58 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Nemesis]
Dan_Dread Offline
stalker


Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3935
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
 Quote:

It's what a woman is SUPPOSED to do, right?

Not just a woman! I have been under constant fire from my Dad to 'make him a grampa' for YEARS. The fact that I have been with my 'other half' for almost ten years makes it explicitly worse, because in my situation I'm supposed to want children by now. So says the peanut gallery anyway.
Breeders always give me the speech, when the opportunity arises, about how parenthood is so great and greatly fulfilling and warm and fuzzy, but it only takes one trip to the supermarket to nullify any effect that might have had.
_________________________
ADM
ideological vandal

Top
#14235 - 11/11/08 07:44 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Dan_Dread]
Meq Offline
Banned
active member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
It only takes one trip to the supermarket to nullify any effect that might have had.

I couldn't resist...


Top
#14236 - 11/11/08 07:55 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Meq]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
I can agree with Dan for sure. Love is a great thing to find, and I wish it on you all from time to time.

But every time I go into public and see children squalling and their parents "parenting," I want to send my doctor yet another thank you note for the vasectomy!
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


Top
#14433 - 11/14/08 09:10 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Jake999]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
stalker


Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 2509
“Schopenhauer comes to the startling conclusion that humans have an instinct designed for the very purpose of undermining reason and rationality”

I would say that is a pretty good conclusion. Humans undermine reason and rationality all the time. Just look at organized religion. What could be more unreasonable and irrational than the trite that spews out of the mouths of pontiffs the world over?

The instincts for self preservation and continuation of the species are certainly the strongest in humans. It would make sense that feelings of “love” simply are a way to get us to reproduce. To fall deeply in love with a person often times causes one to undermine reason and rationality. I’m sure most of us have had a relationship with someone who we loved that we shouldn’t have. Maybe this person was unfaithful or abusive etc., and even though we knew they were bad for us we couldn’t shake those feelings.

I agree that most people are selfish in relationships. Seeking their own personal happiness rather than focusing entirely on the other person’s happiness. This is not to say that people don’t concern themselves with trying to make the other person happy. Therein, however, lies the true selfishness. A man goes to the store and buys his girlfriend some flowers. He does this because he is assuming it will make her happy. In this man’s mind her happiness is directly tied to his own happiness. Therefore he buys the flowers; not to solely make her happy, but also to assure the continuation of his own happiness by extension. While this may not be entirely selfish, it certainly isn’t selfless.

“We have the instinctual illusion of 'falling for' a person with whom (unconsciously) we could produce the healthiest offspring.”

While this may be true in some cases, I see a hole in this theory: There are couples who know they cannot reproduce together yet love each other all the same. Shouldn’t this instinct stop this from happening? Or do we have to power to override this instinct?

Society in general has definitely come a long way towards sexual freedom. No longer is sex viewed only as a means to procreate. People engage in recreational sex because sex feels great. Sure this has been happening for a long time, but it isn’t as taboo as it was in the past. It could be possible that our instincts are evolving; causing us to spread our seed more liberally. Increased sexual activity is sure to bring about increased reproduction of the species. Many people, myself included, have no desire for a love relationship. We can find happiness and it doesn’t have to come from another person. We like our sex, but can do without the runaround bullshit of maintaining a “healthy relationship”. This ‘promiscuity’ or ‘lowered sexual inhibition’ could be just another tool of nature. Used to insure the propagation of the species; and designed for those who fail to fall into the “love delusion”.

Thanks for posting this Meq. It got my brain working as it is an interesting topic.
_________________________
No gods. No masters.

Top
#14446 - 11/15/08 04:08 AM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: 6Satan6Archist6]
Dimitri Offline
stalker


Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3153
 Quote:
While this may be true in some cases, I see a hole in this theory: There are couples who know they cannot reproduce together yet love each other all the same. Shouldn’t this instinct stop this from happening? Or do we have to power to override this instinct?

Well-noticed, but yet the answer is quite simple.
When we people fall in love our hormone produces a hormone wich gives us "the butterflies in our stomach". This hormone also has some effect on the brain. It disturbs a bit of our rationality to a certain degree. We tend to make our partner look "perfect" and without any faults. The hormone is responsible for this. Even so, this leads to things as "can't reproduce with each other, still stay together". Subconsiously we still think about mating with the ideal image of the women/men you are in love with.

 Quote:
No longer is sex viewed only as a means to procreate. People engage in recreational sex because sex feels great. Sure this has been happening for a long time, but it isn’t as taboo as it was in the past. It could be possible that our instincts are evolving; causing us to spread our seed more liberally. Increased sexual activity is sure to bring about increased reproduction of the species. Many people, myself included, have no desire for a love relationship.

Returning to normality I'd say. All animals have the possibility to spread their seed liberally. Only we humans were the exception and binded us towards 1 person whom we fell in love with. Moral dogma's and religuos dogma's are pretty hard indoctrinated within our society we were thinking it was normal to have 1 partner for the rest of your life.

Also there is something wich bothers me. In these times in these regions (Western) we have more freedom of sex. Ofcourse it is something good, but sometimes I got this idea we are going a bit over the top. Surely it is great to walk into a sexshop, surely it is nice to see some xxx-rated movies. But sometimes it bothers me a bit when watching television. Watching a great action movie,.. then suddenly 2 people having sex with each other,.. really ruins the monumentum of the movie.
Or talkshows about sex,.. always the same things...
Talking about sex is fine, but the whole time? Almost getting confronted by it every day? I'm happy there is a certain degree of freedom about it, but sometimes it is just too much.
_________________________
Ut vivat, crescat et floreat

Top
#14468 - 11/15/08 12:57 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Dimitri]
Meq Offline
Banned
active member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Dimitri
All animals have the possibility to spread their seed liberally. Only we humans were the exception and binded us towards 1 person whom we fell in love with.

That's not true. Many species of animal are strictly monogamous. Others are promiscuous.
Biology suggests that humans are somewhere in between.

To give an example of how mating habits vary, the Australian dingo (Canis lupus dingo) has been known to starve itself to death after the death of its lifelong mate.
This is in contrast to the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) which is promiscuous (dogs in heat will fuck anything!), despite this being closely related (actually the same species).

In primates, monogamy tends to have an inverse correlation with testicular size. Basically, apes with bigger balls screw around more. Gorillas are more faithful to their mates than most apes, and have small testicles.

Humans (as far as primates go) have medium-sized testes, which suggests they can be either monogamous or promiscuous.
Social conservatives who try to defend monogamy as 'natural' and promiscuity as 'unnatural' are thus mistaken (as well as committing a naturalistic fallacy).
BOTH instincts are natural - but this says nothing about 'right' and 'wrong'...

Where humans are truly unique, however, is in how they will seal a lifelong bond with a partner, then break it off later and/or deceive their partner about their other partners. Amazing!

Schopenhauer saw this world as the creation of an evil demon.
I can envisage a voyeur God who created our species for his very own Jerry Springer-style entertainment...

 Quote:
Talking about sex is fine, but the whole time? Almost getting confronted by it every day? I'm happy there is a certain degree of freedom about it, but sometimes it is just too much.

I for one am grateful for those brief 'warnings' before movies with such content. At least I know exactly what I am getting into if I decide to stay and watch \:D

Top
#14469 - 11/15/08 01:07 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Meq]
Dimitri Offline
stalker


Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3153
You are absolutly true Mequa.
Actually it came to my mind their indeed are animals who are monogamous. Not only within the primates, also some sort of birds are monogamous. And male black widows... (wich actually is because the female devours them after mating...).
But at overall I'd say most animals or polygamous.

Little question: did you study biology? Or are you studying biology? I do not happen to come across people very often who knows the latin name of the domestic dog....

 Quote:
for one am grateful for those brief 'warnings' before movies with such content. At least I know exactly what I am getting into if I decide to stay and watch

I'm gratefull for that part too, but sometimes you just miss the beginning of the movie.


Edited by Dimitri (11/15/08 01:09 PM)
_________________________
Ut vivat, crescat et floreat

Top
#14470 - 11/15/08 01:16 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Dimitri]
Jake999 Offline
senior member


Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
I can recommend THE MYTH OF MONOGAMY by David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton on the subject of monogamy (or the lack thereof) in the animal kingdom. Some of their insights from their experiments and observations are fascinating.
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


Top
#14478 - 11/15/08 02:21 PM Re: Arthur Schopenhauer's Philosophy of Love [Re: Jake999]
Meq Offline
Banned
active member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
I just came across this article which raises some interesting issues about our monogamous instinct:
http://www.students.emory.edu/HYBRIDVIGOR/issue1/mating.htm

Animals rarely follow 'true' monogamy (they will still screw someone else under the right circumstances). However, they would rapidly revert to monogamy after, and communities could rely on the strong monogamous instinct to hold together their way of life.

This is in contrast to humans, who have a weak monogamous instinct and so can sway either way. This has led to the use of force by those wishing to promote monogamy. It takes nothing less than a violent war on our promiscuous impulses to promote a consistently monogamous society.
Hence we have another uniquely human phenomenon - a society brutally denying part of its own human nature.

Only humans (often using their fictional gods as mouthpieces) are desperate enough to create laws specifying that anyone boning someone else's mate (and their lover too!) should have rocks thrown at them until they die an agonizing death - as commanded by Yahweh in the Old Testament and still practiced in Islamic countries to this day.

Top
Page 1 of 1 1


Moderator:  TV is God, fakepropht, SkaffenAmtiskaw, Woland, Asmedious, Fist 
Hop to:

Generated in 0.025 seconds of which 0.005 seconds were spent on 26 queries. Zlib compression disabled.